Ahh, the good ol' Schwinn Airdyne.
You know, I've had a lot of beef with Airdyne's in the past.
- The chains always came loose.
- The pedals broke.
- The monitors sucked
For the most part, they were pretty awful machines that didn't last, BUT you had to use them. There were no other options; a necessary evil if there ever was one.
But for us athletes, we understand that competition breeds excellence. And thanks to Assault Air Bike, excellence is precisely what air bikes are becoming.
In the past, there was essentially three models of air bike. Bad. Worse. Worst. However, we now have Assault, Xebex, and Schwinn has finally joined the party in introducing the Schwinn Airdyne Pro.
Let's find out how it stacks up.
When Schwinn contacted me requesting I put the new AD Pro through the paces I wasn't too sure about it.
You see, although I love reviewing new equipment, I've had nothing but trouble with Airdyne's in the past. I'm also never too hyped on slamming companies products, but with the nature of the site being honest reviews, I've had to do so a few times in the past.
Rob Orlando Wasn't a Fan of Old AD's Either…
I decided to oblige Schwinn's request and go through with a review. What's the worst that could happen? It sucks and so I just hand it off to a reader, big deal!
So, the big day came for delivery and rather than UPS dropping this big pallet off in my driveway, Freddie and Pat from Treadmill Heroes put it together (they also drank some of my protein; guys after my own heart.)
Pat & Freddie were pretty jacked, no lie.
The first thing I noticed regarding the bike was the overall quality.
The Assault Air Bike and Xebex Air Bike have brought a new level to air bikes regarding build quality and the AD Pro is right up there with them.
Although the AD Pro isn't an all metal construction, I think that's a plus. Metal is in most cases much more durable than plastic, but metal also makes much more noise. And, when it comes to a machine that already produces the decibels that Air Bikes are known to, the last thing you need is more noise.
So, the basic makeup of the bike is metal and plastic, with a majority being aluminum and steel.
Everything on the bike seems to be larger than on the Assault & Xebex bikes as well. That's not to say it takes up a whole lot more footspace, because it doesn't, but the fan for instance is gigantic. This is most likely a reason for a smoother start and stop compared to bikes in the past.
The frame on the AD Pro is a bit longer than other air bikes out there, and I think for good reason.
No longer are old people the only ones using air bikes. They're now being used more than ever in competitions and in serious training environment. This means they take more abuse from people who can push some serious wattage. (Want to see something freaky? Watch Danny Nichols get 300 calories on an Airdyne in under 10 minutes.)
The longer frame keeps the bike from looking like you're trying to do a wheelie whenever you start the bike. It also has seems to have the weight a little bit more evenly distributed on the frame which helps combat the rocking.
The frame is also slightly wider with larger peg feet that keep it more stable with less side to side.
This isn't noticed much when doing slower steady state training, but when you really get pumping you definitely notice and appreciate the extra stability.
The Airdyne Pro also features the first belt drive system on any air bike ever produced.
Belt drives have been used for a little while on bicycles with great results, but this is the first time I've seen it in this type of application.
Basically, rather than using your typical link chain, the bike uses a heavy-duty rubber belt often seen in cars. This allows for a few things:
- fewer adjustments needed to be made over the lifetime of the bike
- easier adjustments
- a much quieter and smooth ride
I could not believe the difference the belt drive system made when it came to noise. The only real noise you hear is the one produced by the blades on the fan battling against the wind. Starting the bike is smooth and quick as is coming to a stop for things like movement changes or intervals.
This is the biggest improvement of the bike over current air bikes and one I would imagine other companies will try and emulate.
Overall, the bike is simply really well built. The pedals are actual medal pedals and not plastic so expect fewer problems.
The rubber grips are heavy duty and unlike foam take chalk extraordinarily well.
There's just little things you start to discover as you go through the bike that show Schwinn really went back to the drawing board on this bike. I expect people to no longer be looking at this Airdyne with the idea that it's no longer made solely for personal, relaxed use, but serious training.
Generally, when a piece of equipment is made well, the performance will follow.
This certainly isn't always the case, but in relation to the Schwinn AD Pro, the function seems to follow the form.
There are a few gripes that often come from people with air bikes.
- “Why does it have to be so loud?”
- “Why is the monitor difficult to control? I just want to get on and go.”
For the first one, there's very little way to make a bike that operates against the wind to be quiet. The only way to make the bike quieter, while keeping the same resistance is to make the bikes parts, such as the pedals and arms quieter.
Based on what I've discussed earlier, the bike is built well and is thus as quiet as a fan bike can be.
The fan is larger than that on the Assault and Xebex Air Bikes, but I don't feel like it added much (maybe a little) more resistance or noise.
As I've said, the monitor on the Xebex Air Bike that was previously deemed by me as the best value air bike available simply isn't up to snuff.
In fact, it's not very good at all. Sure it can track some basic things including heart rate, but it's done in a very clumsy way.
The monitor on the Assault Air Bike is definitely a step up from the Xebex Air Bike, mainly because of it's ease of use as well as how simple the screen layout is.
*EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS, LISTEN UP: Make your equipment as simple as possible, but no simpler. There's no need for excess complication.*
A quick look at the Schwinn Airdyne's monitor and it's pretty clear to see the similarities between it and the Assault Air Bike's monitor:
Many of the same presets are there such as intervals, time, heart rate, etc.
The big differences I noticed were the size and brightness of the AD Pro's screen being easier on the eyes (especially while sweating) and additional metrics at the top.
The top of the monitor features dials very similar to what you would find on a car. It seemed excessive at first, until you do a workout that you're pacing and the ability to see your current RPM is very helpful. If you're a person who loves data, this monitor is the one for you.
It also tracks heart rate, connects to your monitor very easily, and you can track your effort based on heart rate zones.
Schwinn Airdyne Pro vs. Assault Air Bike
I've compared both of these somewhat in the review, but I figured I would touch on the differences here specifically:
|Manufacturer:||Schwinn AD Pro||Assault Air Bike|
|Weight:||113 lbs.||98 lbs.|
|Foot Pegs:||Rotating Plastic/Metal Pegs||Knurled Stationary Pegs|
|Handles:||3 Position Handles with Hard Rubber Grips||1 Position Handles with Soft Grips|
|Inner Workings Design:||Closed||Open|
|Monitor Presets:||Time, Distance, Calories, Intervals, Heart Rate||Time, Distance, Calories, Intervals, Heart Rate|
|Adjustments:||Forward, Back, Up, Down Seat Adjustments||Forward, Back, Up, Down Seat Adjustments|
|Warranty:||Frame: 10 Years
Parts: 2 Years
Labor: 6 Months
|Frame: 5 Years|
My Favorite Air Bike Workouts
So, it's pretty clear to see how good of a bike the new Airdyne Pro is, but who cares how good it is if you don't know how to use it.
Here are a few of my favorite grinders using the bike:
Popularized by Gym Jones
10 Minutes, Max Calories. The goal is 300 (ouch.)
Death By Air Bike
Complete 3 calories on the bike in the first minute (add 3)
Complete 6 calories on the bike in the second minute (add 6)
Complete 9 calories on the bike in the third minute (add 9)
Complete 11 calories in the fourth minute (add 11)
Complete 13 calories in the fifth minute (add 13)
Complete 14 calories in the sixth minute (add 14)
Complete 15 calories in the seventh minute (add 15)
Complete 16 total calories
Complete 17 total calories
Complete 18 total calories
Complete 19 total calories
Complete 20 …..
Add 1 calorie to total calorie output every minute on the minute until you cannot complete the calorie total goal in the allotted time.
Tabata Protocol for 16 rounds.
20 seconds Airdyne for calories
10 seconds Rest
20 seconds Push Press with 50 or 35 pound dumbells
10 seconds Rest
Repeat the above for a total of 8 rounds.
Highway to Hell
5 miles Assault Air Bike (2 minute max bike interval)
Each 2 minute time limit in which 5 mile goal is not met, add: + 50 squats, + 50 pushups and + 50 ab mat sit-ups
Complete 5 miles total for time
Split it Up
Assault Air Bike 50 calories total
Splitting up legs only isolation and alternating to arms only isolation every 5 calories (until 50 calorie total is met) + 50 Squats + 50 Pushups + 50 Pull-ups For time
Keep it 100
50 calories Assault Air Bike standing (out of the saddle)
50 calories Assault Air Bike alternating upper and lower body (every 5 calories until 50 calorie goal is met)
*Target for watts: men to maintain 300W lower 200W upper. Women 250W lower 100W upper
If you can't tell, I'm a fan of the Schwinn Airdyne Pro.
There's still things I'd like to see improved. I think it's too difficult to access the inner workings of the bike for maintenance and although I don't know if it's even possible, it would be cool to have quieter bikes.
Overall, though, the bike is outstanding and in my opinion is the best available.
That being said, based on the price, I still think the Xebex Air Bike is great. It hits a cheaper price point and although it's not as good of a bike as the Airdyne Pro, it's still very solid.
Have you used any of the available Air Bikes? Which is your favorite and why?
Stay Strong, Live Long,